Image source: Pixabay

Image source: Pixabay

A while back I had the privilege of being one of the judges in a small business competition. Over the course of the event we had the chance to see some great businesses in action, hear their stories, and how they were going to develop their business should they be the successful entrant.

The field was close, but one business in particular took my eye. It was a cool idea in an unusual space with some great potential. The business made mud drums, and was called just that, Mud Drum.

I was so impressed by the concept that when Jodie, Mud Drum’s owner, missed first place by a nose I figured it would be a good thing if we created an ‘on the spot’ second prize of a few strategy days in her business, just to give the business its own mini kick start.

I arrived at her store and took a look over the business and how it worked. And a very proud Jodie took me through the business from raw product to cool instrument. With a backgrounder on the business complete we sat at her meeting table and I asked the first question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Now that sounds pretty straight forward but you’d be surprised at just how many small-business people fail to understand, or visualize, what their business looks like when it’s finished, when it grows up.

Jodie was one of those business people. She had a range of great ideas, amazing enthusiasm and energy, and five concepts on what the business MIGHT look like when it grew up, but no real clear vision. And there lay the best place for us to start on our strategic journey.

It’s relatively easy for an enthusiastic person to start a business, all it takes is a great idea, a few bucks, and ambition. The hard part is running it and growing it once you’ve opened the door, and keeping the momentum of that raw talent and ambition going.

So here’s how we worked out what Jodie, ‘wanted to be when she grew up.’

Is your business sustainable, or another shooting star?

Categories in business will always remain relatively strong, but the market positioning of some of the businesses within those categories sometimes leaves a bit to be desired. There are some key things to consider when assessing the sustainability of the business you are either in, or looking to invest in, within your chosen business category.

The first thing to consider is: do you really have a core customer market for your product, or do you just like it?